The Best of Star Trek, Volume Two

The Best Of Star Trek, Volume 2This new collection of previously unreleased suites from various episodes of all of Star Trek’s live-action incarnations includes some of the most requested music from all of the series – and a few extras as well.

The classic series is easily the show best represented by this CD, with music from The Corbomite Maneuver, Balance Of Terror, What Are Little Girls Made Of? and a “lounge” version of the show’s main theme which was used in a small number of episodes as background source music. Though the Corbomite and Balance scores have been re-recorded in part on past releases by Varese Sarabande, it’s always nice to hear the original recordings rolled out and remastered. They sound great.

Deep Space Nine is represented by a suite from the fourth season opener, The Way Of The Warrior, which introduced Worf as a permanent feature of the DS9 landscape. The music is big and bold…and, by and large, lifted directly from the music of Star Trek: Generations. Go ahead – listen to the “Final Fight” track on the Generations CD and then the Way Of The Warrior suite, back-to-back. The similarities are stunning. Not to say that it’s bad music…just that we’d heard it before. I would much rather have heard some music from season two’s three-part epic premiere.

Also included in the DS9 section is the televised mix of the main theme from seasons 4-7 (a previous version, heard on the original Best Of Star Trek CD in 1996, featured more percussion than the version actually used to open each episode), as well as Nana Visitor’s version of “Fever” from His Way (the first Vic Fontaine episode). The latter is quite nice – Nana’s no Shirley Bassey, but “Fever” is supposed to be moaned and growled more than it’s sung anyway. It’s a nice companion to Jimmy Darren’s album of tunes performed by Vic on DS9.

The DS9 suite is also plagued by another problem – an incorrect table of contents in the CD’s liner notes booklet which omits a track of Warrior score and adds one more track of music from the Voyager suite than actually appears on the CD. The track list below is the correct track list.

Voyager is also represented by an uncharacteristically bombastic score, David Bell’s music from The Bride Of Chaotica. Incredibly atypical of the most recent Trek spinoff’s usually somnolent scoring, Bell’s music is an over-the-top homage to Flash Gordon-style pulp sci-fi radio epics of yesteryear. Some of the most interesting moments in the Chaotica score occur when the music shifts gears abruptly between the retro-40’s music and Bell’s more frequently-used style. Sadly, in these few very brief “modern” passages, one hears – more or less – the entire gamut of Bell’s typical Voyager score, as he too has fallen victim to replicating his own work under the constraints of time and – in all likelihood – the limited inspiration provided by the average Voyager episode.

The album does at least pick a good note on which to close, however: several minutes of music from Dennis McCarthy’s score from the Next Generation finale, All Good Things. This score, though it too features some musical repetition, features some of the best moments from the last episode. The “Saved Again” cue accompanies the memorable scene of the refitted Enterprise saving the collective butts of the crew of Beverly Crusher’s doomed U.S.S. Pasteur, and the cryptically titled “I Have A Gun” is the wonderful final shot of the episode, in which the crew’s last poker game dissolves into the Enterprise’s flight into an alien sunset, set to the strains of Alexander Courage’s Star Trek fanfare, bringing things nicely full-circle. (Shouldn’t this track have been called “The Sky’s The Limit”?)

There’s one cue I wish they’d included though: Picard’s first view of the Enterprise as Tasha ferries him to the ship for the first time via shuttle.

Overall, the second volume of The Best Of Star Trek will satisfy fans of nearly every one of the 4 out of 4show’s incarnations, particularly fans of the classic series that started it all. Here’s hoping that it won’t take four more years for volume three. There’s enough unreleased Trek music to merit a yearly release (hell, there’s enough unreleased music to fill a monthly CD magazine, but the economics of that kind of venture would be nightmarish for both label and consumer, so I’d settle for a yearly release).

Order this CD

  1. Theme from Star Trek – string arrangement (0:51)
  2. The Corbomite Maneuver (4:29)
  3. Balance Of Terror (3:42)
  4. What Are Little Girls Made Of? (4:39)
  5. In Chapel (1:18)
  6. Theme from Star Trek – lounge mix (1:39)

    Suite from The Way Of The Warrior

  7. Theme from Star Trek: Deep Space Nine – season 4 (1:55)
  8. Dry Run (1:31)
  9. Medieval Harp source (2:57)
  10. Worf (1:35)
  11. “Yo!” (4:08)
  12. Worf II (1:47)
  13. Fever (2:01)

    Suite from The Bride Of Chaotica

  14. Theme from Star Trek: Voyager (1:47)
  15. Begin Chapter 18 (4:21)
  16. Presenting…Arachnia (3:07)
  17. Chaotica Is Defeated / Distortions (3:43)
  18. Chaotica’s Last Words / The End (1:05)

    Suite from All Good Things…

  19. Theme from Star Trek: The Next Generation – season 2 (1:40)
  20. Here Comes The Judge II / To The Rescue (5:59)
  21. Primalosity (2:29)
  22. Courage (3:31)
  23. Saved Again (2:26)
  24. I Have A Gun (0:52)

Released by: GNP Crescendo
Release date: 2000
Total running time: 63:42

Meco – The Complete Star Wars Collection

Meco - The Complete Star Wars CollectionRoughly a year ago, I waxed rhapsodic about how much I loved the CD re-release of the original Star Wars and Other Galactic Funk album by Meco. Well, here we are with a brand-new release by Meco, remixing and compiling his discofied slices of John Williams from all the original trilogy movies, and adding new material inspired by Episode I.

I know some fans have been clamoring for Meco’s tunes from The Empire Strikes Back and Return of the Jedi, but if this CD proved anything to me, it was that maybe I would’ve been better off stopping at that original 1977 release.

A major caveat for fans of original material here: these are not the original recordings. These are digital re-recordings which vastly change the structure of the original songs. In some places – and I’m particularly singling out the new version of the original Star Wars music here – this isn’t a bad thing. It’s interesting to hear Meco’s take on this stuff some 23 years later. In other places…God help us all. I never heard Meco’s original Empire and Jedi recordings, so I have no idea if they were ever better than this. It sounds like the discomeister should’ve called it quits with the first movie.

And if Meco’s Empire and Jedi-inspired tunes aren’t enough to make me draw that conclusion, the godawful trio of Episode I songs are enough to make me wonder if the man’s lost his touch completely. Don’t get me wrong, I loved Meco’s original Star Wars and Other Galactic Funk album. I listened to it incessantly when I was a kid. But his take on “Duel Of The Fates” and “Augie’s Municipal Band” is a bore – he was beaten to the “Duel Of The Fates” punch by the far superior house dance mixes by the Wasabees a year ago.

And it gets worse. Far, far worse. “Cousin Jar Jar” is a bizarre rap in which Jar Jar wanders into a bar and burbles on endlessly about his adventures (and his inability to dance, because yousa might say meesa…clumsy?) over a disco beat, with occasional background vocal contributions. Again, I 1 out of 4even liked Jar Jar Binks in Episode I…but this song almost seems to be specifically engineered to make even the most adoring Jar Jar fans rethink their loyalties to the goofy Gungan.

Proceed with caution. Keep in mind, I loved Meco’s original Star Wars album. But this thing is one long digitally-recorded trip to the Dark Side.

Order this CD

  1. Star Wars (A New Hope)
    Main Title Theme / The Land of the Sand People /
    Princess Leia’s Theme / Cantina Band / The Last Battle / End Title
    (8:22)
    The Empire Stikes Back
  2. Darth Vader’s Theme / Yoda’s Theme (3:36)
  3. The Battle In The Snow (3:24)
  4. The Force Theme (3:13)
  5. Finale (2:30)
    Return Of The Jedi
  6. Lapti Nek (4:54)
  7. Ewok Celebration (3:09)
    The Phantom Menace
  8. Duel Of The Fates / Augie’s Municipal Band (3:23)
  9. Cousin Jar Jar (3:33)
  10. A Jedi Knight (vocals by Yamira) (5:25)

Released by: Mecoman Records
Release date: 2000
Total running time: 41:33